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A protest turned violent Saturday night in downtown Atlanta following the killing by law enforcement officers of an environmental activist who had shot a state trooper, authorities said.
Six people were arrested Saturday night in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, authorities said, during protests that came in response to a proposed police training center and the fatal police shooting of an activist earlier in the week.

Protesters marched “peacefully” down a downtown Atlanta street Saturday night, but a group within the crowd later began “committing illegal acts” including breaking windows and attacking police vehicles, the chief of police said. Atlanta police officer Darin Schierbaum at a press conference.


Police arrested six people and were still investigating whether others were involved in illegal activities, the police chief said. Three businesses had their windows damaged, he added.

Social media footage showed a burning police cruiser downtown, and video from CNN affiliate WANF showed broken windows at a Wells Fargo bank.

The protests came in response to a planned $90 million, 85-acre police training center dubbed “Cop City” by opponents, and just days after the police killing of a 26-year-old activist near the site of the future police training center. training.

Some of the people arrested Saturday “have already been involved in other criminal activity and are involved in a way to deter construction of the public safety training center,” Atlanta Police Chief Schierbaum said.

“My message is simple to those who seek to continue this type of criminal behavior,” Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said during the press conference. “We will find you and we will arrest you and you will be held accountable.” Dickens was among the city councilors who voted for the training center in 2021.

During the press conference, Dickens said many of those arrested “don’t even live in Atlanta or the state of Georgia” and some were found “with explosives.”

Georgia Governor Brian P. Kemp said on Twitter: “Violence and unlawful destruction of property are not acts of protest. These are crimes that will not be tolerated in Georgia and will be fully prosecuted.”

Activist fatally shot near proposed center
The fatal police shooting of the activist occurred Wednesday morning, during what authorities said was a cleanup operation to move people from the site of the future facility. Opponents of the center have camped out in the area for months in an attempt to stop construction.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) said law enforcement officers saw an individual in a tent in the woods and gave him verbal orders, but the individual allegedly did not comply and shot a Georgia state trooper, according to a press release.

Officers returned fire and fatally wounded the individual, who died on scene. A handgun recovered from the individual’s possession matched the projectile from the policeman’s wound, the GBI said.

The murdered person was identified as Manuel Esteban Páez Terán.

Activists associated with the movements protesting these facilities dispute the law enforcement account, saying that Teran was a “defender of the forest” working to fight environmental racism. Local justice groups said Terán, known as Tortuguita, was “sweet, warm, very intelligent and caring.”

The wounded soldier was taken to a local hospital for surgery and was in stable condition Wednesday night, authorities said.

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